As of January 2013, each self-contained housing unit ("residence") pays a monthly broadcasting fee as a flat rate amounting to € 17.98, regardless of which devices the residence has or uses, and whether or not any devices are even present in their residence. For those, who have already registered a television device, basically nothing changes. The contribution fee is to be paid for three months at a time.
The agency responsible for the fee is the ARD ZDF German Radio Broadcasting Contribution Service.
Exemption from contribution fees: Anyone receiving state social security benefits (e.g., BAfög, unemployment benefit II, or social welfare assistance, etc.) can be exempted from paying the contribution fees provided the submitted application form for exemption has been approved of by the agency.
For further information, check the following website (in German).